Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

There were a combination of factors but the fact remains any potential new ownership group wanted Kavis Reed dealt with prior to taking over the Alouettes.

It was a planned move whether Montreal won in Ottawa or not — the next day, Sunday, July 14, Reed was going to be removed as general manager.

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie grew tired of Reed’s antics which clinched the decision. The league had to force Reed to release celebrity quarterback Johnny Manziel. Even after the move was made Reed said if it was up to him he would have kept Manziel on the roster. That was the first sign publicly Ambrosie and Reed were at odds.

When the league took over operations of the Alouettes franchise, which had been going on well before it was officially announced, the fate of Reed was sealed. Ambrosie and the board of governors wanted a person to keep their head down and run the team the way they saw fit in order to make it more appealing for prospective owners.

As far back as last November, the Als were looking for general manager replacements, which continued into the new year. Multiple candidates were pursued since the calendar turned to 2019. The idea was to bring in a placeholder GM for the year, be it before the season or just to finish the schedule. The league wanted a puppet it could control until the sale went through — no autonomy, no job security.

Prospective owners are doing their due diligence on the Alouettes and checking the financial situation. The one-year sitting duck would have had strict transaction and budget limits when it came to the roster. Ultimately, Montreal — and its current owner, the league — elected to go with a collaboration of assistant general manager Joe Mack, head coach Khari Jones and director of football operations Patrick Donovan. That crew is expected to follow the same budgetary guidelines.

Despite the fact Reed is owed his salary for the rest of the season, the move went ahead due in part to him reportedly costing the team money in other ways. Reed was hired in December 2016 after the Als let Jim Popp go. Montreal compiled a 10-30 win-loss record during the two-plus seasons Reed called the shots, the worst record among any franchise in the league over that span.

Originally, Reed was the main target by the league — Mike Sherman was supposed to be left alone and finish the season. But the plans changed quickly when it became clear the franchise wasn’t as attractive with Sherman as head coach. And according to sources, Reed was not made aware of Sherman’s firing until it was finalized. Indicative of how the Alouettes are currently being run.

“The team is sold and the league is doing what they’re being told,” one source said.

New owners don’t want to come in and have to do a bunch of dirty work. The league is providing a clean slate for the group who takes over. That’s why Manziel was jettisoned, Sherman and now Reed — all acquired or hired while the Wetenhall’s were in control — are gone.

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Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.